YACHT SKIPPER 'DIVED TO HIS DEATH OFF MAST' DURING DRUGS RAID

A Dutch skipper died after jumping 40ft from the mast of his yacht as it was being raided for drugs in St Mary's harbour, an inquest has learned.

Christiaan Woestenburg, 62, plunged to his death after a UK Border Force team boarded his 36ft boat the Windrose on June 17, 2013.

 

He told officers he was going to fetch some hydraulic equipment to open a locked hatch but was seen climbing the yacht's 40ft mast. 

 

Eye witness Ryan Sloane, a boatman on Scilly at the time of the incident, said that Woestenburg "jumped intentionally". PC Mat Collier, who was on duty at the time, reported that the skipper "dived" from the mast.

 

A pathologist told the jury that Woestenburg died of head, chest and pelvic injuries after hitting the solid granite quayside.

 

The Windrose had been towed into the harbour by St Mary's lifeboat after Woestenburg, who was sailing single-handed, reported that he was feeling fatigued and having trouble with the vessel's rigging and mast. The boat had been 16 miles away from St Mary's and believed to be heading from Portugal to Holland at the time. 

 

Border Force had received some intelligence that drugs may be on board and sent a cutter to search the vessel.

 

Officers found a large amount of Class A drugs in around 120 plastic bags in a water tank under the cockpit.

 

St Mary’s assistant harbour master Alan Hartwell told the inquest that the skipper had been at sea for 15 days and away from home for four years, adding: “He looked completely shattered. He said it was the worst trip he had.”

 

The inquest continues.

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